February 01, 2008

But Enough About Me

The excellent Black Belt Mama has drawn the short straw and will be interviewing me as a part of Neil Kramer's Great Interview Experiment. So here we go...

1. You quote Alice Walker in your email signature. (Note: I have a lot of email .sigs, but the one BBM is referring to says, "Activism is my rent for living on this planet.") What is your favorite piece of literature from her and why?

I love The Color Purple. It's a story told through diary entries and letters that speaks to the experiences of a group of people who initially seem very different from me — African-American women in the rural south in the 1930's — and who end up feeling like my tribe. Plus I actually love the color purple.

2. What has been the most challenging aspect of parenting for you?

Other than actually giving birth? :-)

Probably patience. Trying not to rush our son through his young life on adult time, but instead taking the time to follow his curiosity with him. Even though I've worked pretty hard at being more patient, it's still a huge challenge.

3. I noticed from your posts that you are living in NJ and that you're a lesbian. What was your reaction to the Governor of NJ coming out the way he did?

I'm so glad you asked that question, because it's a fun story. Jim McGreevey came out during a live public press conference on a Thursday afternoon, and I was driving home from school, listening on the radio. As he began his speech, he talked about having grown up feeling somehow different, and I felt an empathetic wave of empathy. "He's gay!" I thought to myself. Then I shook my head and laughed at myself. "For heaven's sake," I thought, "I've got a serious case of out-of-whack gaydar... just because someone struggled with identity issues doesn't mean they're my identity issues. " I kept listening. Again he said something that made me think, "Oh my gosh, he's totally going to come out!" Once more I shushed my inner self with a mocking rebuke. Finally, he actually DID come out, and as he uttered the now-famous words, "I am a gay American," I almost drove into a ditch, I was listening so intently. I was simultaneously sad, disappointed, and excited. Sad because it was clear that his political career, which had meant so much to him, was probably over. Disappointed because it seemed that he'd betrayed the trust of his family and the people who voted for him. And excited because he'd had the courage to stand up and speak this scary piece of his truth... I think that every time someone comes out (especially in this kind of high profile way) it helps to pave the way for the folks who are still living lives of dishonesty and fear.

4. You have a George Bush ticker on your site. Why do you want him gone so badly and in your opinion, who would be the best candidate to replace him?

I want George Bush gone because he lacks the qualities I look for (and now long for) in a leader. I want a leader who is smart, articulate, compassionate, generous, slow to fight, honest, and respectful. George Bush is none of those things. I haven't decided who I'll be supporting in the upcoming election; I don't want to dedicate a full year of my life to thinking about it.

5. Why did you initially start your blog and what makes you continue writing it?

I started a blog because I was in the process of looking for a job (I found one!), and blogging gave me a way to both keep track of my efforts and share them with my parents (without having to talk about it all the time). I keep blogging because I am grateful for the connections it has brought me, and because my family and friends have come to expect that they'll be able to check in on me over here.

6. What is your favorite site on the internet?

This month, I'll be partial to Thing-A-Day, a veritable supernova of creativity. I'm also a big fan of Patti Digh and Ze Frank. And of course Haiku World.

7. If you could vacation anywhere in the world expense-free, where would you go and why?

I'd go on a longish sailing voyage, but I'm not sure where. The Mediterranean, maybe? Sailing is one of my favorite modes of transportation, in many ways a destination in and of itself, so that's what comes to mind when I imagine a "dream" trip. But since my funds in real life are limited, I haven't done the research I'd need to do to plan the ideal route.

(Thanks, Black Belt Mama! That was fun.
The Great Interview Experiment is still going on,
so anyone thinking about playing along should go check that out.
And I do plan to participate in Thing-A-Day again this year,
and so will be posting every day this month.)

1 comment:

Blackbeltmama said...

Shelley-Great answers. Your story about McGreevey is funny. I had a friend come out to me last year and she expressed the same feelings (just feeling something wasn't quite right). Very interesting.

I hear you on the birth and patience aspect too. Nice to know someone else struggles with patience. That's my resolution for this year, to become more patient.